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Release Number: 2024-33
Date: May 6, 2024

Cal/OSHA Reminds Employers to Protect Workers from Heat Illness

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: As temperatures rise across California, employers must be prepared to protect workers from heat illness. In-person heat illness prevention training sessions are taking place in the Fresno area for employers and workers on May 10.

Oakland—Cal/OSHA reminds employers to protect outdoor workers from heat illness with training sessions this week to help employers plan for and prevent these hazards. Cal/OSHA's heat illness prevention standard applies to all outdoor worksites.

Employers, workers and stakeholders are invited to these Cal/OSHA training sessions:

  • In-person training sessions with the Nisei Farmers League and other agricultural associations on Friday, May 10 at the C.P.D.E.S. Portuguese Hall, 172 W. Jefferson Avenue in Easton.  
  • Spanish training from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • English training from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Heat Illness Prevention Requirements
Cal/OSHA investigates heat-related incidents and complaints of hazards at outdoor worksites in industries such as agriculture, landscaping, and construction. These investigations ensure compliance with the heat illness prevention standard and the injury and illness prevention standard, which require employers with outdoor workers to take these precautions:

  • Plan – Develop and implement an effective written heat illness prevention plan that includes emergency response procedures.
  • Training – Train all employees and supervisors on heat illness prevention.
  • Water – Provide drinking water that is fresh, pure, suitably cool and free of charge so each worker can drink at least 1 quart per hour and encourage workers to do so. 
  • Rest – Encourage workers to take a cool-down rest in the shade for at least five minutes when they feel the need to do so to protect themselves from overheating. Workers should not wait until they feel sick to cool down.
  • Shade – Provide proper shade when temperatures exceed 80 degrees. Workers have the right to request and be provided shade to cool off at any time. 
  • Observe – Closely observe all employees during a heat wave and any employee newly assigned to a high heat area. Lighter work, frequent breaks or shorter hours will help employees who have not been working in high temperatures adapt to the new conditions.

Additional information about heat illness prevention, including a recording of the April 24 Heat Illness Prevention network meeting are posted on Cal/OSHA's Heat Illness Prevention page. Cal/OSHA also has extensive multilingual materials for employers, workers, and trainers on its Water. Rest. Shade. public awareness campaign website. A heat illness prevention regulation for indoor places of employment is currently being developed. Employers are advised that the existing Heat Illness Prevention Special Emphasis Program includes enforcement activities and multilingual outreach and training. Cal/OSHA will also continue investigating potential indoor heat violations under existing regulations such as the Injury and Illness Prevention Program (Title 8, Section 3203) and Water Supply (Title 8, Section 3363).

WHY IT MATTERS: Not only can workers be protected from heat exhaustion and issues like dizziness, weakness, and nausea, but they also can be protected from heat stroke, convulsions, fainting or potentially from death.

What Cal/OSHA Acting Chief Debra Lee said: "Employers with outdoor workers should not wait to review their procedures on preventing heat illness and they should ensure their training is effective as soon as possible."

Heat training - Fresno

Contact Information
Questions related to heat illness prevention should be directed to Cal/OSHA's Consultation Services Branch, which provides free and voluntary assistance to employers and employee organizations to improve their health and safety programs. Employers should call (800) 963-9424 for assistance from Cal/OSHA Consultation Services.

Workers who have questions about heat illness prevention can call 833-579-0927 to speak with a Cal/OSHA representative during normal business hours. Complaints about workplace safety and health hazards can be filed confidentially with Cal/OSHA district offices.

Media Contact: Communications@dir.ca.gov, (510) 286-1161

Employers with Questions on Requirements May Contact: InfoCons@dir.ca.gov or call your local Cal/OSHA Consultation Office